An estimated 350 teachers and administrators from dozens of school districts from across Southern California exchanged innovative teaching ideas at a statewide teachers summit held at Cal Poly Pomona on July 31.
The university was one of 33 sites across California to host the inaugural “Better Together: California Teachers Summit,” which attracted an estimated 15,000 transitional kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers and administrators statewide. The summit aimed to provide a showcase of methods, inspiration and classroom success stories.
Nancy Hurlbut, interim dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Education & Integrative Studies, says the summit enabled teachers to connect with each other and be enthused, motivated and excited.
“This is a way really to honor the work teachers do,” Hurlbut said. “It gives them an opportunity to feel energized, and it offers them a way to network across the state. It’s really about teachers teaching teachers.”
Nick Salerno, coordinator of educational partnerships in the College of Education & Integrative Studies, says he was pleased with the turn out and that everything ran smoothly. The hope is that the success of the summit will turn it into an annual event, he says.
“We hope they leave today with some new strategies and tools they can use in the classroom right away,” he says. “For those networking, we hope people stay in contact with one another and build that cadre of support for education.”
The summit aimed to encourage teachers to collaborate and share innovative methods. In addition, presentations by California teachers titled “EdTalks” addressed best practices for teachers. Yolanda Munoz, a third-grade teacher with the Pasadena Unified School District and Peter Paccone, a San Marino High School social studies teacher, gave talks.
Justin Lim, who earned his teaching credential from Cal Poly Pomona in 2007, also was a featured speaker. He implored his peers to incorporate more technology into lesson plans.
Technology helps teachers better convey information, create content and connect to the students they teach, Lim said.
“Great teachers are dynamic in their teaching,” he said. “Great teachers leverage technology to convey information to students. We have to find opportunities so that everybody is connected.”
Applying technology to classroom strategies addressed one of the hot-button topics at the event: the implementation of the new California Standards, also known as the Common Core. Participants also established the framework for a teacher network.
The California Department of Education, the New Teacher Center, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the California State University partnered with nearly a dozen education groups across California to stage the event. The summit was supported by a $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.